Rays Winter Leagues Recap: Taylor Motter Homers on Thanksgiving


While the Dominican Winter League and Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (in Puerto Rico) were off, the rest of the Winter Leagues were in action. It had be a strange moment for the American players on the teams, but several of them–particularly Taylor Motter and Granden Goetzman–did come away with great games.

Australian Baseball League: Brisbane Bandits 9, Melbourne Aces 0

Granden Goetzman has been doing it all for the Bandits of late, drilling homers, stealing bases, and delivering strong defensive plays, In this game, Goetzman delivered the former two of those, going 1 for 2 with a homer, a walk, a stolen base, 3 RBI, and a run scored.

The walk is nice–Goetzman now has 3 in his last 4 games–but even though he is seemingly playing very well, he hasn’t delivered a multi-hit game since November 14th. Goetzman’s line in the ABL is a divisive .215/.282/.477. What can we make of that? The good news is that the tools that made Goetzman a second round pick in 2011 are still clearly precent, but will he ever find the consistency to reach his potential?

Tommy Coyle, meanwhile, has less to complain about. He went 2 for 3 with 2 walks, an RBI, and a run scored in this game, extending his hitting streak to 10. He’s hitting .421 over that stretch with an RBI per game, and he now has a .354/.427/.585 line on the season. We expected Coyle to do well–he is one of the most advanced players in the league–but he has done a nice job exceeding expectations despite that.

Johnny Field went 0 for 3 with two hit-by-pitches, a stolen base, and a run scored while Maxx Tissenbaum went 1 for 4.

Mexican Pacific League: Charros de Jalisco 7, Yaquis de Obregón 2

Brendan Harris had a great game for the Charros in this one, going 3 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored. He is now hitting .417 through 7 games for Jalisco, delivering a hit in each of his last 5. Harris spent most 2014 in Independent ball, but he is hoping that a big MPL performance can get him into affiliated ball from the start of the season.

Aguilas de Mexicali 12, Naranjeros de Hermosillo 1

Edgar Gomez had a strong relief appearance for Mexicali, forcing 2 groundouts in a scoreless inning. He now has a 2.31 ERA and an 18-8 strikeout to walk ratio through 23.1 innings pitched with the team.

Humberto Cota also appeared for the Aguilas, going 0 for 3 with a walk and a run scored. The 35 year old was actually catching after DHing in previous games, but he apparently did a good enough job behind the plate.

Venezuelan Winter League: Leones del Caracas 9, Tigres de Aragua 4

Daniel Mayora has found himself struggling to get at-bats of late for the Leones, but a game like this could start to change that. Mayora went 2 for 4 with a homer, a double, a walk, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored. It was his first start since November 16th and the hits were his first since November 14th, but he made them count.

Mayora has solid if not spectacular numbers so far for Caracas, hitting to a .265/.383/.427 line with 5 doubles, 4 homers, 19 RBI, and a 20-18 strikeout to walk ratio in 141 plate appearances. You wish he hit for more power as a third baseman, but his plate discipline is impressive and he does have a pair of homers in his last four starts.

Cardenales de Lara 4, Bravos de Margarita 3

Taylor Motter has batted all over the place for the Bravos this season, but this game found him in an unfamiliar spot: batting ninth. After a game like this, though, he may not be there for long. Motter went 3 for 4 with a solo home run, his 6th of the season.

Overall in the VWL, Motter has a .252/.310/.458 line, leading to a .768 OPS that is quite similar to his .762 mark from Double-A this year. Motter has done a nice job showing that his strong year was not a fluke, and he hopes big league teams will take notice with the Rule 5 Draft coming up.

Motter’s blast was one of the few mistakes for Romulo Sanchez, who went 5 innings for the Cardenales allowing 1 run on 6 hits, striking out 3 while walking none. He hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs in any of his four starts with the team on his way to a 2.57 ERA. While Sanchez has struck out just 11 batters in 21 innings, he also has given up just 2 walks, an incredible 0.9 per 9 innings.